Homebuyer tax credit: 950,000 must repay

By Les Christie, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Nearly half of all Americans who claimed the first-time homebuyer tax credit on their 2009 tax returns will have to repay the government.

According to a report from the Inspector General for Tax Administration, released to the public Thursday, about 950,000 of the nearly 1.8 million Americans who claimed the tax credit on their 2009 tax returns will have to return the money.

The confusion comes because homebuyers were eligible for two different credits, depending on when their homes were purchased.

Those who bought properties during 2008 were to deduct, dollar for dollar, up to 10% of the home's purchase price or $7,500, whichever was less. The catch: The money was a no-interest loan that had to be repaid within 15 years.

Had they waited to buy until 2009, they could have gotten a much sweeter deal. Congress extended the credit and made it a refund rather than a loan.

Now, the IRS is developing a strategy for separating the 2009 taxpayers who are required to repay the credit from those who are not.

A review by the Inspector General earlier this year found that the IRS could not easily distinguish between home purchases made in 2008 and 2009. That heightened concerns that some claims could be erroneous or even fraudulent, that buyers could, for example, claim their purchase came later than it actually occurred.

Thursday's release reported that 73,000 claims, more than 4% of the 1.8 million homebuyers who received the credit, had incorrect purchase dates recorded by the IRS.

Some of the inaccuracies counted against the taxpayers, Nearly 60,000 were listed as purchasing in 2008 (meaning they had to repay the credit) or had no purchase dates at all, rather than their correct 2009 purchase dates, which would free them of the obligation to pay it back.

It is also taking a look at all those deceased taxpayers who received credits.

The inspector general reported that 1,326 single people listed as dead by the Social Security Administration claimed more than $10 million in credits. The IRS threw out 528 of those 1,326 claims, saving $4 million. To top of page


Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.96%3.94%
15 yr fixed3.08%3.03%
5/1 ARM3.33%3.33%
30 yr refi4.04%4.02%
15 yr refi3.16%3.09%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,104.07 129.76 0.76%
Nasdaq 4,538.71 -10.52 -0.23%
S&P 500 1,984.57 2.27 0.11%
Treasuries 2.29 -0.04 -1.55%
Data as of 11:20am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Facebook Inc 73.31 -2.55 -3.37%
Bank of America Corp... 16.95 -0.04 -0.24%
Intel Corp 32.98 -0.94 -2.77%
Apple Inc 106.40 -0.94 -0.88%
Avon Products Inc 10.14 -0.82 -7.48%
Data as of 11:05am ET

Sections

Consumers continue to ramp up spending. That's very good news for credit card companies. More

San Francisco-based Tumml is an accelerator fostering 'urban impact start-ups' that aim to tackle civic problems -- and turn a profit. More

Apple CEO Tim Cook writes column in which he announces that he's gay: "I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me." More

San Francisco-based Tumml is an accelerator fostering 'urban impact start-ups' that aim to tackle civic problems -- and turn a profit. More

In cities across the United States, millions of people will be kicked out of their homes this year. Some can't afford their soaring rent, others are getting evicted over minor violations by landlords eager to get higher paying tenants in place. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.